Quite a few years ago I was working at TeleProfessional Magazine. I really loved everything about it. I loved the administrative and organizational parts of it. I loved getting to do interviews and write articles. I really loved the proof-reading, which my brother Steve once told me makes me the oddest person he knows. But to me, it was like getting to play every day.
I had goals back then, about what I wanted to do professionally and how I wanted my life to turn out. I have a friend who has a special kind of date night with her husband so they can talk about finances and personal goals for their family. And I think that is good and necessary and responsible... something more couples should probably do.
The way to look at goals changed for me when my doctor first approached me about applying for disability. Maybe approached is the wrong word. I was sitting in a hospital bed (one of the three times I was in the hospital that year) with my laptop open, typing up dictation from an interview I had done so I could write an article. I'm sure you can imagine the look on her face as I'm hooked up to an IV of antibiotics and a Demerol drip... working was not what she had in mind for me to be doing. Recovery was more important at the time, but I was still in the mode of fighting to maintain a life that had already changed. My mind just hadn't caught up to the reality of it yet.
I would say Annie (my doctor) looked surprised, but I think disapproving was more the word for it. How in the world did I expect to get better and fight off an infection when I was expending all my energy working? That was happening in that hospital room, but it was the pattern my life had been following for awhile... I would get sick or be in a pain flare, just start getting better and then resume life as normal. And that normal would wear me down and start the cycle all over again. When I finally applied for and was approved for disability, I had to figure out what my goals in life were now going to be. And eventually I came up with this:
- To not be ashamed to stand before God.
- To fulfill God's plan by living the best life I can with what I am given.
- To be aware and present in every moment.
- To love what I have and not yearn for what I lack.
- To spread the Joy, not the fear.
- To be intentional in all things.
So far, I haven't had a situation come up in my life that hasn't been covered by these goals. It's how I want people to remember me, the impression I want to leave on people I meet. They are lofty goals. They're not easy to reach every day. But they are what I was left with when I took away the idea of having a career, having a family, having financial security or some sort of status in society. I think it's something I had to look at, but it's something I should have been looking at all along.
So, that's my story of figuring out who I want to be. And if you are thinking about who you are, where you are going and how you want to be remembered, I recommend starting with number six... being intentional with your life. After that, most everything starts to fall into place.